President-elect Obama, President Bush, and the three living former presidents posed briefly for pictures before meeting privately at the White House Wednesday. (Getty Images)
(CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama, President Bush and all of the surviving past presidents got together Wednesday for a historic meeting at the White House.
"One message that I have, and I think we all share, is that we want you to succeed. Whether we're Democrat or Republican, we care deeply about this country," Bush told Obama before lunch with the former presidents.
Bush and Obama were joined by Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Watch: 'We want you to succeed,' Pres. Bush tells Obama
Obama thanked the president for hosting them and said he was grateful for the opportunity to get "advice, good counsel and fellowship" from the group.
Obama's press secretary said the presidents had a "very constructive conversation" and Obama appreciated "the spirit of bipartisanship they showed" in wishing him success.
"The president and the former presidents had helpful advice on managing the office, as well as thoughts on the critical issues facing the country right now. The president-elect is anxious to stay in touch with all of them in the coming years," Robert Gibbs said.
Presidential historian Doug Brinkley said it's "very smart politics for Obama to keep a channel open" with the former presidents.
Nice to see a little color in the picture!
I wish to leave a comment, CNN.
OBAMA stands out beautifully among the other Presidents.
Thank you CNN for accepting my comment.
For those that still do not get it, the message for the American people is from this gathering of former Presidents and PE Obama.
"We are not a red america or and blue america, we are the United States of America"
The sooner the hyper partisian's understand this fact, the sooner the nation will begin to recover from the mess that we find ourselves in and begin to restore our nations greatness
These five men, gathering this day, should be a lesson to us all. United we stand, divided we fall.
Thank you past, present and future. We will unite again, and the rest of the world will see what the american spirit can endure. What does not kill us, only makes us stronger. Stand up and be counted among the many that will bring this nation to yet another pinnacle!
The picture is very Norman Rockwell, "Breaking Home Ties" with Obama looking a different direction than the past presidents. Interesting.
I wish Bush would choke on a bone.
"We want you to succeed," Bush tells Obama ... The part of the conversation they left out ... "Because I didn't do squat for eight years."
Carter....smartest and yet the dumbest president this country has ever had. Hopefully, he kept his mouth shut. Everytime he opens it publicly he sticks his foot in it.
Chuck and Angie are very uninformed and ignorant.
Shouldn't George H.W. Bush have more grey hair?!??!!
I just love those generational pictures.
DK: The caption reads "President-elect Obama, President Bush, and the three living former presidents" which would make 5...
Wow, some of the worst Presidents and PE's ever in one room. Clinton is an immoral intern molester, Carter is a liberal fart who destroyed our military and economy, both Bush's destroyed their own party from the inside out, and Obama is going to be the biggest scam artist of them all.
What a heart touching picture. I could not agree more with a few other posts, President Elect Obama is a very handsome man! Bush don't look too bad either!
I Love America!
God Bless America.
Love, Respect, Peace.
This is a great picture to show the world.
Let's cool it for 5 minutes and just enjoy the moment. Then we can go back to fighting, but for right now, this is pretty awesome.
"Obama stands out beautifully, doesn't he?"
I guess this man can do no wrong. Everything good will be attributed to him and all the bad will blamed on someone else. for the record evry president and done good and bad. just depends on which side of the fence the media is at the time.
"THREE HAPPY DEMOCRATIC LEADERS WITH TWO MORONS." and the dems call everyone else hateful for calling names. You just try being president for one day. IDIOTS!!!
What a historical picture and a memorable moment.
Kudos to all the presidents for putting party politics aside.
To Carol: "Looks as if they are having a good time together, but our new President is the cutest….he is surely a good looking guy." – this isn't about who looks the best, but who can do the best job. All of them have their good points as well as bad. We will find out MORE on 1/20 how many bad ones the new Prez has....scary!
what a handsome picture of the past, present and future!!
God Bless America!
John Galt-Maybe you should move to China?
Clearly.....B Obama looks the most Presidential of the lot.
Wishing him the very best in cleaning up the mess being left behind.
No matter what you might think of them, they're all alpha males. The most powerful men in the world. Everyone knows their names now and forever.
Obama is the best looking of the bunch!–hands down. Forget the other article about how much he'll age in 4 years.
You are exactly what is wrong with this country.